Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Somnambulism: night terrors

SOMNAMBULISM, med. juris. Sleep walking.
     2. This is sometimes an inferior species of insanity, the patient being unconscious of what he is doing. A case is mentioned of a monk who was remarkable for simplicity, candor and probity, while awake, but who during his sleep in the night, would steal, rob, and even plunder the dead. Another case is related of a pious clergyman, who during his sleep, would plunder even his own church. And a case occurred in Maine, where the somnambulist attempted to hang himself, but fortunately tied the rope to his feet, instead of his neck. Ray. Med. Jur. Sec. 294.
     3. It is evident, that if an act should be done by a sleep walker, while totally unconscious of his act, he would not be liable to punishment, because the intention (q.v.) and will (q.v.) would be wanting. Take, for example, the following singular case: A monk late one evening, in the presence of the prior of the convent, while in a state of somnambulism, entered the room of the prior, his eyes open but fixed, his features contracted into a frown, and with a knife in his hand. He walked straight up to the bed, as if to ascertain if the prior were there, and then gave three stabs, which penetrated the bed clothes, and a mat which served for the purpose of a mattress; he returned. with an air of satisfaction, and his features relaxed. On being questioned the next day by the prior as to what he had dreamed the preceding night, the monk confessed he had dreamed that his mother had been murdered by the prior, and that her spirit had appeared to him and cried for vengeance, that he was transported with fury at the sight, and ran directly to stab the assassin; that shortly after be awoke covered with perspiration, and rejoiced to find it was only a dream. Georget, Des Maladies Mentales, 127.
     4. A similar case occurred in England, in the last century. Two persons, who had been hunting in the day, slept together at night; one of them was renewing the chase in his dream, and, imagining himself present at the death of the stag, cried out aloud, "I'll kill him! I'll kill him!" The other, awakened by the noise, got out of bed, and, by the light of the moon, saw the sleeper give several deadly stabs, with a knife, on the part of the bed his companion had just quitted. Harvey's Meditations on the Night, note 35; Guy, Med. Jur. 265.

References in periodicals archive ?
To those (we quote again from our author) who refuse to believe even in the first fundamental fact, of the production of the slate commonly termed the Mesmeric somnambulism, by the process of the magnetic manipulation--a state of extraordinary sleep-waking, during which a peculiar relation, of either nervous or mental influence and connexion, exists between the active and the passive parties to the process--to these we have nothing to say.
The history was positive for both a personal and family history of extensive sleep talking and somnambulism.
In Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Greek Philosophy to Plato, he describes Socrates as having catalepsy caused by magnetic somnambulism when in deep meditation.
Since Vogl praised his friend for his clairvoyance and somnambulism, writers starting with Fink have framed Schubert's music in terms of what it lacks (in relation to the classical harmonic axis).
Alcott's audience will read breathlessly as they follow Jackson and James into their teenage years and then into adulthood, along with their hallucinatory tendencies, somnambulism, and increasingly strange but realistic night terrors.
Side note: By 1958, Dave Elman expected each physician to achieve somnambulism on virtually all patients in under one minute and to demonstrate this in class in order to successfully complete the course.
According to Allan Lloyd-Smith, "Brown's novels exploited Ann Radcliffe's vein of 'explained supernaturalism,' using ventriloquism, somnambulism, or charnel-house scenes of plague to create .
Here, I want to reveal how Brown uses Erasmus Darwin's articulations of the trance-like states of reverie, erotomania, and somnambulism to help him construct an American masculinity that endorses Enlightenment values while it, perhaps more curiously, at times seems also to encourage traditionally feminine sentiment and behavior between men.
A source said: "The woman suffers from somnambulism, which means she sometimes sleepwalks in the middle of the night.
A specialist in somnambulism tells Dad that he needs to visit his home and family in Algeria.
While Balzac uses this "tempete sous crane" to preface his discussion of the dangers of somnambulism, Epstein appropriates the scene in order to convey visually the shifts in his protagonist's mental state.